Topics: Mathematics, Arithmetic, The Huffington Post Pages: 4 (1475 words) Published: April 19, 2013
Pedram Ghodrati
Why do we have to learn algebra? Math is an academic subject which many students struggle to master. I remember when I was in high school, I always had a hard time understanding math. In senior year I almost dropped out of school because of the difficulty of high levels of math classes. I just read an article called, “Is Algebra Necessary?” by Andrew Hacker, an American political scientist and public intellectual. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Queens College in New York. He argues that algebra is not necessary, and it shouldn’t be a requirement for college students. Many people and writers are agreeing with him and many are not, but who is right? I believe that requiring algebra for college graduation is causing more dropouts, and making more people not to be able to show themselves in school and in the fields that they are good at, but if we can’t eliminate algebra, at least we should train our teachers better. One of the most important disadvantages that requiring algebra has is that, many students drop out of school. “The City University of New York, where I have taught since 1971, found that 57 percent of its students didn’t pass its mandated algebra course” (Hacker). If more than half of these students don’t pass algebra, this becomes a serious problem and proves that not everyone is the same, and therefore, not everyone should be expected to excel in the same subjects at the same level. Shirley Bagwell a longtime Tennessee teacher, verifies that “To expect all students to master algebra will cause more students to drop out” (Hacker). Student dropouts can have other reasons too, but at least we know that a big number of them leave because of algebra. Daniel Willingham, a cognitive scientist, and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, complains that “Yes, a low grade in math predicts dropping out, but no more so than a low grade in English.” I believe that this problem...

Cited: Hacker, Andrew. “Is Algebra Necessary?” New York Times. New York Times, 28 July 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2012
Willingham, Daniel. “Yes, Algebra Is Necessary.” Daniel Willingham blog. 30 July 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2012

Zhao, Emmeline. "Math Education In America: Should We Get Rid Of Algebra?" The Huffington Post., 21 Aug. 2012. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

McGuire, Patricia. "Algebra, Zakaria and Lady Gaga." The Huffington Post., 20 Aug. 2012. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

Bailey, David H. "Algebra Is Essential in a 21st Century Economy." The Huffington Post., 01 Aug. 2012. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

Warner, Nicholas. "In Defense of Algebra." The Huffington Post., 09 Aug. 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
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